Spotlight at Masters Tournament Shines on IBM’s CEO, Not Tiger


As the 2012  Masters Tournament at Georgia’s Augusta National Golf Club begins, it's not just star players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson who are making headlines. IBM’s sponsorship of the event has also generated some buzz—and not the positive kind.

Since opening in 1933, Augusta National Golf Club has not allowed women to join. Media outlets like CNN.com have been reporting that IBM's sponsorship of the Masters Tournament is doubly controversial—first for the implicit acceptance of Augusta's men-only policy, second for the additional complication that IBM's newly appointed CEO is a woman.

Augusta has traditionally bestowed membership to the CEOs of the Masters Tournament's corporate sponsors, but club officials haven't said what they'll do in regard to membership for IBM CEO Virginia Rometty, according to ABC News.

Augusta has long dealt with the issue of gender exclusivity and negativity for its no-women-allowed policy, and it's difficult to imagine that IBM was not prepared to deal with this issue. The big question being asked right now is whether Augusta will grant membership to Rometty—not whether Tiger Woods will continue on his comeback trail. And this is not the kind of media attention IBM was seeking.

Follow Bill Miltenberg:
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